Viacom Gets All Kinds of Awesomeness

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

AwesomenessTV Holdings, LLC (aka Awesomeness), a media company and leading digital-first destination for original programming, has established an unparalleled connection to GenZ – that coveted up-and-coming cohort born along with the tech revolution of the mid-1990s. Fed by strong relationships with top digital talent and influencers, Awesomeness has accumulated 6.4 million YouTube subscribers and another 158 million subscribers on its Awesomeness Network, becoming the premiere digital media network for the most digitally savvy cohort in history.

And now Viacom is acquiring Awesomeness, which will live under Viacom Digital Studios (VDS) and play an important role in Viacom’s robust and growing premium content production ecosystem, drive additional growth at VDS, and strengthen Viacom’s established digital and social relationships and dominance in youth culture.

“Awesomeness has done an incredible job building their brand into a digital media powerhouse for today’s most sought-after and hard-to-reach youth audiences,” said Kelly Day, President of Viacom Digital Studios and former Chief Business Officer of Awesomeness. “The team brings strong digital expertise, deep connections with top talent and influencers, and a robust branded content studio and creative agency that will accelerate the growth and scale of Viacom Digital Studios.”

Andie is on a mission to shake her stigma with the help of her three best friends in “Foursome,” which airs on YouTube Premium. Starring Jenn McAllister, Rickey Thompson and more.

Viacom is already a top player in youth culture, having curated strong audience connections with kids via Nickelodeon and young adults via MTV. The addition of Awesomeness’ young teen fan base further strengthens this broad demographic reach, while Awesomeness’ strong existing relationships with digital platforms, talent and influencers complements VDS’ existing efforts to reach these GenZ consumers on the mobile, social and digital platforms they call home.

While VDS has been growing briskly – more than tripling digital streams since 2016 and doubling YouTube subscribers over the past year, as total social views and watch time soared by 112 and 104 percent, respectively – Awesomeness’ dedicated sales force, branded content studio, and existing relationships with brands such as Hollister, Gatorade and Invisalign will further drive VDS’ growth and profitability. Awesomeness’ expertise across digital programming and distribution, production, talent management and audience development will also help fill out VDS’ still-growing staff.

With distribution deals with major SVOD players and its own Emmy-winning, youth-focused studios that have produced 200 hours of long-form television and feature film content, Awesomeness’ proven content development and production abilities are an especially good fit for Viacom, which has moved deliberately to ramp up its capabilities in this area recently: consolidating several operations across the Americas into Viacom International Studios to service global markets; moving to a studio model under which Nickelodeon, MTV and other brands will license and produce shows based on intellectual property for third-party platforms; and building Paramount Pictures’ Paramount Television production arm from scratch into a $400-million-and-growing annual business.

During an all-night, lock-in graduation party, a group of new grads will do whatever it takes to make their remaining high school dreams come true in “All Night,” which airs on Hulu. Starring Jenn McAllister, Eva Gutowski, Teala Dunn, Jake Short, Brec Bassinger and more.

Awesomeness alumni have already been helping to power Viacom’s transformation in this increasingly digital and mobile age: VDS President Kelly Day, VDS Executive Vice President of Talent and Development Paula Kaplan, and Paramount Players President Brian Robbins – who co-founded Awesomeness in 2012 with Joe Davola – each joined Viacom directly from Awesomeness, a testament to that entity’s penchant for producing top-grade talent.

BET, Logo, VH1 Honored for Excellence in Multicultural Marketing

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

They are shows that celebrate drag culture and America’s oldest gay ski week. They mine the early days of hip-hop and toast its ripple effect throughout our culture. They erase our differences by showing that we’re not so different when we’re… naked.

As varied as these shows and their subjects are, they have one thing in common: each one highlights the programming on a Viacom network.

Actually, they have another thing in common: each was honored by the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity In Communications (NAMIC) last month. For the 30th consecutive year, the organization hosted the Excellence in Multicultural Marketing Awards (EMMA) to acknowledge the very best in multicultural marketing.

A trio of our networks – BET, Logo and VH1 – took more than a dozen of the awards altogether. This follows an impressive showing by Nickelodeon and BET at NAMIC’s Vision Awards last spring.

View the full list of 2016 EMMA winners as laid out in Cablefax here, or check out the NAMIC video below:

Congratulations to all of the Viacom winners. We’ve organized them by category below:

Read More

Comedy Central Drops 140-Million-Laugh Bomb on Emmy Nominating Crew

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

How good is Comedy Central right now? Just think about this: How often do you find yourself trading quotes from Key & Peele with your friends? Or posting a highlight from Inside Amy Schumer on one of your social feeds? Or saying “Remember that one Broad City where…?”

Right now, it’s hard to find a network churning out more quote-worthy, memorable shows on a regular basis.

Read More

Viacom Velocity Launches YouTube Channel, Spoofs Parenting in Social Media Age

by Daina Amorosano, Viacom

Viacom Velocity, our creative hub for branded content, launched its YouTube channel this week. Velocity (which bills itself a love child of innovation and collaboration on its website) bids viewers hello with its first YouTube video, “How To Raise A YouTube Star” — a spoof tutorial and parody of parenting in the social media age. Read More

Statement from Viacom on Decision by U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in YouTube Litigation

by Mark Jafar, Viacom

Viacom released the following statement today regarding the decision of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the company’s ongoing litigation with YouTube:

“We are pleased with the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals. The Court delivered a definitive, common sense message – intentionally ignoring theft is not protected by the law.”

For the full text of the decision, click here.